Friday, June 29, 2012

Reno and LA

Tony and I are on our way home from a little getaway in Reno. A nice little escape from just about everything. We had a great time, as we always do. We ate a lot of good food (too much good food at the dessert buffet), played a little penny slots, drank a little, bowled a few games and watched a comedy show. It was a lot of fun for a 2 day vacation. :-) We're lucky enough to have grandmas for the kids to stay with, so we know they are happy and well taken care of. But we miss those kiddos and are definitely ready to see them.

I needed an escape, from crazy kids and all the various stresses of all the stuff we have going on. I had an especially rough, busy week, and got some surro news that really brought me down at the end of a long day. I found out that my IF won't be getting his screenings done until the end of August, instead of the end of July, so that means contracts can't even get started until mid-September, which was very frustrating. Right now I feel like this entire summer has been just about wasted, surro-wise.

But, on the other hand, we got some good news on Wednesday. We got hotel and flight confirmations for our trip to LA next Thursday! Yay! I'm very excited to be actually doing something, and I hope that will really help my general attitude, that we're finally going somewhere. I'm still feeling very much outside the whole process right now, mostly because I hear so little from my IFs. I do understand there are a lot of valid reasons for that, but that doesn't mean I'm overly thrilled about it. :-)

I am also thrilled to announce that my period showed up, right on time, on Wednesday. Which was really great because the plane tickets were already booked, and a late period could have ruined it all, since my med screening needs to happen during a specific time of my menstrual cycle. So, that was good. :-)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The calm before the storm

As expected, not much going on in my surro world this past week, but all my other worlds have been spinning almost out of control. It's so cute and naive that I thought May was going to be our busy month, and that I'd have a nice, restful summer. Maybe things might slow down for a bit in August. Maybe.

I heard from both J and S this week, which was nice. I feel bad, because I rarely sit down on my computer, and mostly access the internet from my phone these days, and when I opened my laptop today, I saw my response to S from Wednesday, sitting there in my outbox, unsent. Oops! But it was good to hear from them; I feel more like this is real when *something* is happening.

I also heard from my agency and the lawyer that had been assigned to me on Thursday. Apparently my IFs have decided to switch lawyers, and they want to work with the office that had previously been assigned to me, so I'll be assigned a new lawyer. But the old lawyer called me to make sure I was comfortable with all of that, which, of course, is totally fine with me. I don't have any sort of preference when it comes to my legal representation, and I trust my agency to only let me be assigned lawyers of good quality.

It was nice talking to the lawyer briefly, though, because she took it upon herself to answer some questions I didn't know I had (I'm not too concerned with the legal portion of the process, but some friends and family are). She wanted to make sure I was informed as to the specific legal issues that we will encounter whilst dealing with a gay couple from China. Apparently a gay couple is not allowed on a birth certificate for China, so legally and medically I will only be in contact with J, and he will be the sole parent on the birth certificate (I think). That does clear up my curiosity as to why S won't be fertilizing eggs also, which tends to be the case in a lot of gay couples. It also could be that he's just not concerned with a biological tie to their children, but even if he wanted a biological child, as per Chinese law, it sounds like, we need to be able to substantiate who exactly the father is in this case, so S will have to wait until next time if he wants a biological child. At least, that's the way I understood it.

I also learned this week that J should be in LA from July 22-25, which is exciting news. And here is where I will outline the craziness of the next couple of weeks: On Wednesday, the 27th, Tony and I are so looking forward to running away to Reno, childless, for 2 days. We'll be back be on Friday, and then the following Thursday, July 5th (as long as my period cooperates), we're getting down to LA for medical and psychological screenings. We'll be down there for anywhere from about 12-36 hours. Not sure yet. Then, at some point in the next 2 weeks following that, we need to make it back out to San Jose and Santa Cruz to celebrate my step-mother-in-law's birthday. And then we'll need to go back down to LA to meet J on the 25th, because that's the only day that Tony doesn't work during the time that J will be in LA. And then, the very next day, the 26th, we had been planning on leaving on a week long trip to Washington.  Phew!

So, to weed out the surro details, at this very moment, I'm looking forward to starting my period mid next week, which will put us on schedule to get my med screenings on July 5 (the have to happen between 7-14 days after I get my period, I think).  And then, I think we have to wait for all of that to be cleared before we can start on contracts, but I'm not sure. Clearance should take about 2-3 weeks, I think. And then I think contracts can take just as long. So, we may be meeting with J before we have medical clearance. And hopefully they're getting all the egg donor business squared away, so that when tests and cleared and contracts are done, in about 6ish weeks, the egg donor and I should be all ready to sync our cycles in anticipation of a transfer, maybe late September? Does that timeline sound right? :-)

But, for now, just counting down the moments until grown-up time in Reno!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Teagun's Birth Story

Today my little boy is turning 2, so I'm indulging myself with his birth story.

Current mood:tired
Teagun Rex Thompson was born Monday, June 14 at 9:15pm.  He weighed 7lbs, 2oz and was 21.75 inches at birth.  He looked like a skinny tiny old man  :-D.  He has huge hands and feet, a small head, and gets his ears from his daddy and his blue eyes from his mommy's side.

Our birthing day started around 8:00 in the morning on June 14.  I started feeling mild contractions that seemed almost indistinguishable from the Braxton Hicks I had been having for months, except that that they seemed to be coming about every 10 minutes.

We already had a non stress test scheduled, because we were 41 weeks, so we headed to our appt at 11.  The contractions had gotten less consistent, but never stopped.  The test and following ultrasound showed that Teagun's heartrate was dropping with contractions, and his fluid levels were low.  This concerned the doctor, and while she was very supportive of our desire to have a natural, intervention free labor, she felt this necessitated a pitocin induction, and she sent us to the hospital.  Before we left she did a cervical check (only my 2nd with this pregnancy; the first was kind of a surprise), said I was 3 cm dialated.  I agreed to having my membranes stripped, and she said that got me easily to a 4.

We meandered over to the hospital, after getting some lunch and snacks.  I was sure to drink a lot of fluids in an effort to help out his fluid level.

While I know that the health of our baby is paramount to my emotional well being, it still didn't mean I was happy about the idea of a medical induction.  We brought our breast pump on the off chance they'd let us try natural means first.  On the ride to the hospital, I listened to one of my Hypnobabies CDs that really made me feel better about the impending induction, even though it was not what I had wanted.

We got to the hospital around 2ish, got admitted and hooked up to the monitors.  Julie, our first midwife, came in and went over our birth plan with us.  She was very supportive of our preferences, and even said we could try natural methods of augmenting the contractions, since Teagun's heartrate was looking good!  I was so excited.  It was as much her general attitude as not having to jump right into Pitocin.  Even though i had come to accept the idea of Pit, I was very happy to have a second shot at something resembling the birth I had visualized.

I got hooked up to the IV and my GSB antibiotics around 4:30.  The IV was terribly uncomfortable and continued to bother me until they removed it the next morning.  While they ran the antibiotics, I tried the breast pump to augment the contractions, which, I think, were about 6-7 minutes apart at that point, and still relatively mild. 
After the antibiotics were done, around 6ish, we decided to walk the floor a bit.  My mom, Tony's mom and Kismet had joined us at this time.  We hadn't been walking for more than 10 minutes when the contractions really started to pick up, in frequency and intensity.  They were coming about every 3-4 minutes, and required a little concentration at this point.  We walked for a bit, stopping for contractions and when we found a play area for Kizzy. 
We made it back to the room about 7, to find we had wandered too far, and security was looking for us!  =-O  We apologized profusely.  :)
Around this time the contractions started getting really intense, and I thought I should try my Hypnobabies CD, because if I couldn't get the contractions under control, I was worried pain meds were in my future, as they were starting to feel like when I had Kizzy, and I was certain we had several hours of that ahead of me.
I tried listening to my CD, but was having a hard time concentrating because Kizzy kept telling me to wake up, so Sue took her for a walk.  As long as things stayed quiet, the CD helped a lot.  Especially between contractions, I was able to relax and rest.
I planned on spending the next few hours laying down, listening to my Hypnobabies CDs, so i told Tony it was time for Kizzy to go home.  He called his mom to bring her up to say good-bye, and my mom called her friend to come pick her up. 
Sue brought Kismet up, and her and my mom went down to get Kizzy's carseat, around 8:55.  Shortly after that, I had a contraction where I felt a little like I wanted to push.  I called the midwife, and she checked, said I was 8 cm, and I could give little, grunty pushes with the contractions if that felt good.
I don't remember if it was the next contraction, or the one after that, but it was certainly within 10 minutes of the first "pushy" feeling, but whichever it was, the contraction, a super long one, took over, and Teagun was born, in about one contraction.  My mom and Sue didn't get back until his head was half way out.  Tony ended up holding my leg with one hand and Kizzy with the other.
Teagun was born in the caul, which is to say that my water never broke, and he was still in the bag of waters when his head came out.  It's apparently quite rare, and is supposed to be a good omen.  :-)  His cord was wrapped around his neck twice, which the midwife quickly took care of.
The nurse was worried about his breathing, and insisted on taking him to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for extra testing and monitoring.  Tony went with him.
I didn't tear or need any stitches, but I had bad internal bleeding.  They had to give me several doses of 2 different medications to stop the bleeding.  But they got it taken care of, and I was ready to head over to our new room at the same time they gave Teagan the okay, and Tony brought our new baby back to us around midnight.

We made it home late Wednesday, and are enjoying learning to juggle 2 kiddos and getting to know Teagun: so far, I can tell you he has a squeaky little cry, crazy strong neck muscles, and an obsession with trying to eat his fists.  <3 <3 <3

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Photo Bomb

Nothing new in SurroLand, and I have just a few free minutes, so I thought I'd share some of my favorite pictures from the last week. Me, I'm not a big looking-at-other-people's-pictures person, so if you feel the same, please feel free to stroll on by, no guilt. ;) *Warning: Significant overload of adorable kiddos ahead*
He sat so still while she painted him.

Mini-photo shoot.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Surro Stasis

Oh technology, how I despise you. Very occasionally. Went to bed early last night so I could finish up my blog entry on my phone in bed before I went to sleep.  Spent 15-20 minutes Swyping out my thoughts, and literally two sentences from the end, the app crashed and I lost it all. Doh! :-/

Anyway, right now, officially nothing is going on. Despite the efforts of my agency, the IVF office will not see me until they've had their consultation with my IPs, so no med or psych screenings for me until July. And we can't even start work on the contracts, because I have to be cleared medically before we do that. So a whole long month of the wait portion of "Hurry up and wait."

A long month of me and my busy brain. While nothing is going on, I have the time to second guess myself (not unique to this situation). "Should I have gone with another agency?" "Did I choose the wrong IPs?" Blah, blah, idle minds and such.

I know it's still really early, but I'm not feeling as close to my IPs as I'd like at this point. I was really hoping for a whirlwind of emails at the beginning, because we're all so excited about forming this new relationship, which is what usually happens when you first get the email address of your new exchange student. But right now, J seems to be content with 1 email a week, and I haven't heard from S at all. It's ironic that I'm uncomfortable with just one email a week, because usually I'm actually a terrible correspondent. But I'm just so excited about this current situation that I want to learn all about them, and want them to feel the same.

Besides just wanting to be making forward momentum, the only other reason I want to get this show on the road ASAP is that I hope to be significantly enough postpartum by August 2013 to celebrate my favorite German's 18th birthday on his soil. Also, I don't want to be huge and preggo when it starts getting crazy hot around here.

But, for now, it seems that there's nothing for me to do but sit around and polish my patience. Actually, I hope to not be doing a lot of sitting around; I really and truly mean to take this opportunity to lose those last few pounds that have been plaguing me. Before I can start blaming my weight gain on hormone shots and, ultimately, pregnancy. Before my first was born, I was a very healthy 147. I was child-free, and was running or gymming almost everyday, had time to make healthy meals everyday and hadn't discovered my love of baking yet (that's a very important part). Before my second was born, I had actually gotten down to 137, mostly because my breastfeeding daughter was allergic to a bunch of stuff her first year, so my diet was very limited. But the only cardio I was doing was chasing around a toddler. Now my weight has crept up to 152, which means that all of my shorts, even the ones that were loose before, are feeling tight, and I don't want to give myself a longer weight loss road after the pregnancy than absolutely necessary. So it's back to the gym (Love the kids' club!) and avoiding baking whenever possible. I have come to terms with the fact that I'll never have a bikini body (without surgical intervention), but I do have the ability to be comfortable in my clothes (with a little (lot) of willpower).

I hope that, while I'm doing that, J and S are finding an egg donor so that things can move as smoothly as possible once July rolls around.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Another weekend of radio silence

My period started on Thursday, so I dutifully called the IVF office to set-up an appointment (and emailed my agency, of course). I didn't hear back from them until Friday morning. With a little polite begging, I got my appointment set up for next Thursday, when Tony can join me.  I was excited to the point of tummy butterflies.  This is a real physical step towards me becoming a surrogate! Whoo-hoo!

That feeling lasted about an hour, until the scheduler called me back to say that apparently my IPs haven't been seen there yet, and won't be seen until the end of the month, and I'm not supposed to come in until after them, so she rescheduled me for July 5. :( I felt like somebody had popped my balloon. I was so thrilled to begin this little adventure already. I don't know what made me think that my journey would go so much smoother than all of the other surros who have been giving enough to share their stories; that somehow I'd be saved all the little bumps in the road. Yet, here we are, a totally typical surro journey, 2 steps forward, 1 step back (just 1, if you're lucky).

I called and emailed my case manager immediately, because I felt like my agency was aware J and S hadn't been there yet, but my director was the one who told me to make the appointment. So my case manager spent the afternoon trying to get ahold of the director to figure out what was going on (coincidentally enough, the director was traveling, and was way closer to me than the case manager), and she called me around 3. Apparently it is usually the case that the office likes to see the IPs first, in part to confirm the medical necessity for a surrogate, but they have seen surros first before on occasion, when the IPs already have an appointment. And I think it's pretty clear to all involved that, having no uterus between them, my IFs medically necessitate a surrogate. So my case manager called the IVF office to straighten things out, but, of course, had to leave a message, and, of course, nobody called her back before close of business. So, here we are, another weekend without knowing what's going on. On Monday, hopefully, I get to find out if we are going to LA on Thursday. Good thing my mom can take my kids at the drop of a hat. I'm kind of ridiculously lucky.

Haven't heard from my IFs in several days. In the last little note, J said he was going to write me a letter that day, and then nothing.  :(  I've heard things can get lost in the internet between here and China on occasion, so I wonder if that's what happened, or if he just hasn't had time, or...? Just feeling a tad lonely. I was hoping we could really be getting to know each other right now. I desperately want to feel like part of a baby-making team. I'll drop them a little note later today, see what's up.

For now, I have to prepare to say good-bye to someone I've been a sort of surrogate mother to for the past year.  Adii, our exchange student from Germany, is leaving on Tuesday, and his going away party is today. I'm mentally preparing for lots and lots of tears.